Despite the fact that the Hurricanes are my adopted former home town team, I’m still on a massive high after the Melbourne Rebels’ win against the ‘Canes last night at AAMI Park – aptly also known as the Stockade.
The Rebels’ article this morning really put the crowd’s passion and the team’s belief in themselves in perspective:
The article, referring to captain Stirling Mortlock:
Mortlock, one of the most experienced players in the history of Australian rugby, paid a special tribute to the AAMI Park faithful. On a weekend that heralded the return of the AFL and the F1 Grand Prix to Melbourne, it was the deafening Rebel yell that sounded loudest in the Victorian night.
Head Coach, Rod Macqueen, backed up his captain’s acclamation of Melbourne’s rugby followers. “It’s terrific to win in front of our home crowd. What we’re finding more and more is the support that we’ve got down here and the players really relate to that and I think it’s something that has become really special already. What we need to do now is to keep concentrating on getting better. We showed a bit of good shape out there today. We’ve got our own game plans that we’re working on and we started to show a bit of that, probably for the first time.”
“For us it’s unique. I think it was over 16,000 tonight and the volume they punch out is fantastic,” Mortlock explained. “They’re singing, they’re chanting, they really get behind what we’re about. A clear example would be that I’ve never before had a standing ovation when we’ve lost games.”
“They’re totally in for the long haul and it’s fantastic for us to have that power, that base behind us, and we want to give them something to cheer about. I’m really happy that we did tonight. There’s a really good movement building at home games and the challenge for us is to play to our potential away from home.”
If our first win at home was special, this took it up a notch.
There seems to be a belief in the team, and whatever Rod Macqueen said to the players at halftime, it worked.
Attacking, intense play is what makes rugby such a great game. The Rebels, after a hideous start, delivered that last night – and didn’t we love it.
Even the Hurricanes noted the intensity of the crowd, observing:
Rebels won 42-25. Think we saw a team desperate to come back and they took it to us. What a crowd over there!
One of the joys of watching the Rebels is the crowd (biased as I am…!) – from the ground announcer revving up the crowd, the march-on of the drums, the singing of ‘Do You Hear the People Sing’, and the mighty Rebel Army who lead the chants joyously, waving flags, never wavering in their loud support.
Last night too I saw something I don’t recall seeing at the rugby before – the members giving the players coming off the ground a standing ovation as they were subbed during the second half .
It’s only been a few games; only two wins. We love our rugby. We love the Rebels. And now, most importantly, last night we saw from our team what we really want to see – our Rebels believing in themselves.
It is a glorious Rebelution!
(photo courtesy of Lynton Crabb Photography)